brrr

It continues to be cold.  I have been so busy lately, that blogging has been pushed to the wayside.  But that does not mean that I haven’t been making food and eating!  I have made pizza dough, pizza sauce, carmelized onions, tomato basil soup, spicy onion beer chili, a type of Italian creme soup, and chicken noodle soup.  Unbelievable the amount of wonderful food that is available here. 

We are about 80% settled in our flat.  It is so amazing how blessed we were, as everything fit perfectly, as if we bought it to fit.  We got a sofa for the living room as well as a credenza for the TV but other than that, we didn’t really need anything.  I am going to get a desk and at least one bookcase for the office.  In addition, the kitchen is awesome!  In terms of storage space it has much more than the home that we lived in while we were living in Oklahoma with probably about the same counter space.  But I was able to find a space for all of my kitchen gadgets as well as the newly acquired gadgets and accessories.  I get a nice little workout whenever I go down to do the laundry, since it is down two flights of stairs.  I am also getting better with my Deutsch particularly after about four days worth of instruction and integration. 

We went to Nuremburg last weekend to visit the Christ Kindel Market and it was fantastic.  There were many craft booths but they also had a lot of food stands.  There were about four huge produce stands and I know of at least four flower stands that were fantastic.  If we were not taking the train I probably would have gotten a few things.  I did purchase some Christmas loose teas and one wild orange tea that smells amazing!  They had spices as well, but I decided against that because I’m not really sure what I need right now.  I didn’t sample any of the food from the booths, but I did get a falafel from a stand on the way.  It was probably the best falafel I have had since Israel!  The falafels themselves were super salty, which made me happy.  There are no pictures of my meal, mainly because it was freezing, literally.  We picked the coldest day thus far to walk around outside for about five hours.  J had Kartoffelpuffer which is a potato pancake like a latke with garlic cream sauce, a bratwurst sandwich, and a fishcake sandwich.  He also had several mugs of gluwein, which I sampled as well. 

My dinner from the restaurant in Amberg

 

J's drink of choice at the Amberg Restauarant

 

Tea shop in Amberg!

 

KartoffelPuffer at the Christkindl Market

 

Potatoes ready to be shredded for potato pancakes

 

Marzipan "bread"

 

Cookie ornaments

 

Produce stands!

 

Marzipan produce

 

Anyway, I have also been baking and cooking among other things.  Here are pictures and recipes: 

Pain d’Epices 

 1/2 c. chopped almonds 

1 3/4 c. flour 

1 tbsp orange zest 

1 1/2 tsp baking soda 

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 

1/4 tsp ground cloves 

1/4 tsp salt 

2/3 c. honey 

1/4 c. brown sugar 

2 black tea bags 

1/2 c. dried figs (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and spices.  In a separate bowl place brown sugar and honey.  Boil 1 1/4 c. water.  Place tea bags in sugar and honey bowl and pour boiling water over ingredients.  Allow to steep 3 minutes.  Whisk honey and sugar until they have dissolved.  Stir tea mix into flour and fold in almonds and figs.  Pour into either a regular sized loaf pan or 3 mini-loaf pans, greased.  Bake regular loaf 50-60 minutes and mini-loaves 25-35 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes in pan and then cool completely on wire rack. 

*Notes* I omitted the figs, as I knew there would be no way that J touched the bread with figs in it.  I also used slivered almonds instead of chopped, and toasted them a little on the stove top.  I also only made the regular sized loaf, which only took 50 minutes.  The smaller loaves would be great for Christmas gifts.  This quick bread was amazing!  I will definitely be making it again and is perfect for the holidays.  As it is baking it makes the house smell wonderful! 

Pain d'Epices

 

Basil Tomato Soup 

1 onion chopped 

1 carrot chopped 

1 1/2 tsp Earth Balance spread or other vegan butter substitute 

4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded 

1/4 tsp sugar 

1/4 tsp salt 

1/4 c. fresh basil 

1 c. veggie broth 

Saute onions and carrot in Earth Balance until tender.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, sugar and salt.  Boil and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  In a food processor or blender, blend with basil until smooth.  Return to pan and heat through. 

Notes! While I did seed the tomatoes, I did not peel them.  I don’t mind the peel and plus I like a chunkier soup, because it seems more rustic.  I used about six smaller vine ripe tomatoes and it turned out fine.  Also, I just spotted the basil, because you really cannot go wrong with basil and tomatoes ;).  I also found that I didn’t need to return it to the pan as it was still steaming after the processing.  And sadly, there is no picture; but just consider it delicious! 

We had two pizza nights!  I love homemade pizza and it is even better when you make the dough.  So here are the recipes for the dough and the tomato sauce: 

Basic Pizza Dough 

5 c. flour 

1/2 c. cornmeal 

2 envelopes rapid rise yeast 

4 tsp. salt 

1/4 c. oil 

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt.  With mixer running, add oil and 2 cups of water in a steady stream.  Continue to mix until dough stays together and forms a ball.  Knead on floured surface until smooth, 3-4 minutes.  Place in a bag and let rise 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge, until doubled in size.  Divide into 4 portions and roll into balls.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 20 more minutes.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Flatten dough and pull into ovals.  Top as desired.  Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. 

Chunky Tomato Sauce for Pizza 

1 tbsp oil 

1 onion, diced 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed with hands 

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes 

1/4 tsp oregano 

3-4 sprigs of fresh basil (optional) 

Cook garlic in oil about 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick, 10-20 minutes.  Freeze leftover sauce for up to 3 months. 

Notes!  The dough is super easy to make, and in terms of baking bread, this is a good place to start.  You rarely can mess pizza dough up and not get it to rise.  With that said, I misread the directions and let mine rise in an oiled bowl for two hours in the refrigerator.  It came out fine.  I pulled them into ovals on oiled baking sheets and then we topped them with the sauce and about 5 other ingredients.  I added the extra sprigs of basil to the sauce and just removed them after they it was done cooking.  The sauce recipe makes a lot, so be sure and freeze the leftovers.  The two extra balls of dough were also frozen and seemed to do fine.  They didn’t rise as high in the oven as the first batch, but still rose and tasted quite nicely.  I am going to be doing some experiments with whole wheat flour to see how that would turn out in the dough.  

My pizza...topped with carmelized onions, green olives, sauce, mushrooms, and fake bacon bits.

 

Carmelized Onions 

3-4 white onions, sliced 

2 cloves garlic, chopped 

2 tsp. oil 

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute garlic.  Add onions.  Cook over medium heat for 35 minutes, stirring occassionally. 

Notes!  I was interested in making a pissaladiere, which is a type of French pizza.  Instead, I just made the carmelized onions to add to the pizzas.  Something magically occurrs when you cook onions for half an hour or more.  I urge you to try it, because it is fantastic. 

carmelized onions

 

Velvet Mashed Potatoes (not vegan!) 

1 head garlic 

2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes 

2 tbsp butter 

1/3 c. sour cream 

2 oz cream cheese 

1/2 c. milk, warmed 

3 tbsp butter 

1 lb mushrooms 

1 shallot, chopped 

1 1/2 tsp thyme 

1/2 c. broth 

1/3 c. whipping cream 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roast potatoes for 20 minutes.  Chop small amount of the top off of the garlic head and cover with oil.  Wrap in foil and add to the oven.  Continue roasting potatoes and garlic 35-40 minutes.  Scrape flesh of potatoes into bowl.  Squeeze garlic into potatoes.  Add 2 tbsp butter, sour cream and cheese.  Mash with potato masher and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in hot milk.  For gravy, melt butter in a saucepan.  Add mushrooms and cook 4 minutes.  Add shallot for 2 more minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer until thickened.  Serve with potatoes. 

Notes!  Oh boy is this not vegan.  J said it was fantastic and I didn’t even make the gravy.  This is not an everyday meal, but it really wasn’t that difficult to make and smelled fantastic.  I also doubled the recipe because it was going to a potluck and that worked out fine.  

Velvet mashed potatoes

That’s all I’ll be posting for now, because it has taken two days just to get that much done.  

In other news, my leg seems to be doing just fine.  I am back into running, somewhat, and have done two and three miles as of yet.  Not at the speed I want to be, but I’ll get that back shortly.  I also haven’t started doing weighted leg exercises, as I’m just not ready yet.  However, I have been doing body weight exercises that seem to be ok.  The gym here is like a dream.  Every piece of equipment you could ever want, as well as an indoor and outdoor track.  I should be joining the Crossfit team in January and hopefully will be volunteering to teach group exercise.  We shall see. 

My goal is to be more prompt with my posts, especially with the new year rolling around soon.

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About OneVeganFoodie

Let's see. I am a certified personal trainer (CPT), group exercise instructor, nutritional counselor, and wellness counselor. My training background focuses mainly on getting overweight populations into shape, but I have worked with people wanting to gain strength/healthy weight and agility. I worked with the Army and the Marines for several years before settling into a civilian lifestyle. I'm still adjusting and I really miss it. I also enjoy coaching non-runners through their first running event. I post my workouts on here but remember that you need to seek medical advice prior to starting a new exercise regimine. I also love food. I've been vegetarian for 10 years and 4 of the last years I have been completely vegan. I love food and I love to cook. I follow a strict diet that I do not recommend for everyone, but I really enjoy as it keeps me healthy and helps me to know what is going into my body.
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